Publishing has catered to dumb for a long while

The following is from The Technique of the Novel – A Handbook on the Craft of the Long Narrative, originally written in 1947:

Why aren’t novels better? It is surprising that they are not worse. Real profits are made in the publishing business by employing highly talented individuals who understand, intuitively in most cases, I believe, the dumb yearnings of dumb people and devise products to please them and keep them dumb and happy. Most books of fiction are written solely to entertain. Where one novel educates or enlarges the mental horizon of the reader, a hundred confirm his prejudices and exploit his ignorance. If novelists as a whole made even a beginning at telling what they know to be true, the book publishing business would collapse. (Thomas H. Uzzell – The Technique of the Novel – A Handbook on the Craft of the Long Narrative)

The more things change, etc., etc.

One thought on “Publishing has catered to dumb for a long while

  1. I love unearthing historical quotes that cast light and heat. Today, I found this in Fathers and Sons, where the author Turgenev describes a 45-year-old: “…Paul, the lonely bachelor, was just crossing the threshold of that troubled, twilit period, when regrets come to resemble hopes, and hopes are beginning to resemble regrets, when youth is fled and old age is fast approaching….”

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